Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has hinted that the general election could take place in October, as speculation continues over when a nationwide vote could take place in the UK.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week ruled out an early vote on May 2, when voters go to the polls in local elections across England.

He had previously said his “working assumption” was that he would hold a vote in the second half of the year, but has not yet confirmed a date.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Hunt suggested the vote could take place in October as he was questioned about the Government’s spending plans.

“And of course if the general election happens in October that means it will be very, very close and that is why we are thinking in advance about the most important element of this spending review, which is the productivity element – how can we achieve more productive public Services,” Mr Hunt told colleagues on the Economic Affairs Committee.

The Chancellor addresses the members of parliament

(House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire)

Earlier in the session, Mr Hunt, who is fighting to retain his seat in south-west Surrey, also said: “I hope” he can “do another Budget event in this Parliament”.

Speculation about an election on May 2 had reached fever pitch until Mr Sunak finally ruled out holding an election that day.

Downing Street sources later reported The Independent that the date had been set for the second Thursday in October.

Labor accused the prime minister of being too afraid to go into the country as the Conservative Party trails the opposition by double digits.

The discussion then almost immediately turned to the question of whether Mr Sunak could go to the polls in June, as former Prime Minister Theresa May did in 2017 after failing to break the deadlock over the Brexit issue.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, has called on Mr Sunak to call a general election as soon as possible.

Earlier this week, Mr Sunak’s allies said it was still the prime minister’s intention to call an election in the second half of the year amid reports of a plot by Tory rebels to oust him from office.

Nervous MPs from across the party are said to have met and held discussions about “coroning” Commons leader Penny Mordaunt as prime minister.

Penny Mordaunt carries the national sword (Victoria Jones/PA)

(PA cable)

The desperate attempt to shore up support would see the Conservatives force their sixth prime minister on the country since the 2010 general election and the third without going to the country.

However, an ally of Ms Mordaunt denied there was a plot to install her as Tory leader, describing the plans as “nonsense”.

sources told The times that Mr Sunak would be willing to call an earlier election to avoid another Conservative Party leadership contest.

Ben Wallace, the former defense secretary, warned the plotters that it was “too late” to oust Mr Sunak from office and that there was “no other alternative” to replace him.

“There comes a moment in the election cycle when you basically put on your best suit, stand up and march towards the sound of the guns and then carry on,” he told Times Radio.

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